Raja Ampat in February 2016 - a paradise for divers


Finally we can enjoy the picturesque island and underwater world of Raja Ampat archipelago. After an almost infinite trip via Doha, Jakarta with partly several hours stay we arrived in Sorong on Monday morning. The people of the AMIRA already waiting for us and quickly it went to the port with several taxis. The luggage was loaded onto several speedboats and then we already saw it, the princess "Amira". LOA: 52 meters, speed 6-7 knots, 8 double and 2 single cabins, restaurant, sofa area, camera room, aft deck lounge, front deck, sun deck, dive deck.

The (17) guests came from many different countries, from Germany (only us), Austria, Italy, Spain, Australia, Israel, Switzerland and the USA.


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"The AMIRA was built for diving and expanded for pampering. Everything is designed to make diving as comfortable and safe as possible and the life on board as luxurious and relaxing as dreamed ". (Original text of the Prospectus of AMIRA premium diving indonesia). The daily life on board was as follows: 6:30am ting-a-ling-a-ling (wakeup-call with bell), then coffee and light snack, around 7:15am again ting-a-ling-a-ling, then BLABLABLA (briefing), then we went into the water for the first dive. After breakfast, around 11am the whole started again: First ting-a-ling-a-ling, after that: BLABLABLA for the second dive. The third dive was around 3pm; just before nightfall usually a night dive was made available. Then dinner has been offered, when everyone was back on board, usually after 8pm. The dive deck is very generously designed; from here you go here directly into the speedboats. Directly connected, there is a camera room where the equipment is maintained and the batteries can be charged.

Nitrox is available at additional cost, the AMIRA also offers the Rescue and Locating System ENOS, which provides security for the guests in flow-rich waters and is for free.


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A few more information about Raja Ampat: The province of Papua Barat (West Papua) covers the western half of New Guinea. In front of the mainland about 600 islands of Raja Ampat archipelago are located, with Misool, Batanta, Salawati and Waigeo representing the four main islands. Because of the isolated location the natural paradise underwater and on land largely is untouched. The dive sites are among the most intact of the world, beautiful coral gardens, a variety of fish and endemic species like tasseled Wobbegong and Walking Shark are almost to be found on every dive. Also macro friends get their results, shrimp, seahorses, crabs are everywhere. Particularly pleasing were the many turtles and Napoleon Wrasses that were encountered daily in many cases. Due to the high plankton volumes also exciting encounters with different representatives of the family of manta rays happened: Reef Manta Ray, Oceanic Manta Ray and Manta Mobula (For a videoclip click here). Sharks were seldom seen and usually found only in small quantities, these were whitetip reef-sharks, blacktip and gray reef-sharks.


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In the south of Raja Ampat at the island of Misool we found the most beautiful soft corals, there were a lot of fish and very good visibility. The following dive sites are particularly colorful and interesting memories: Andiamo - Nudi Rock - Tank Rock - Boo Windows - Magic Mountain - Four Kings - Caleidoskope - Peles Playground. On the way back to the north, the visibility went poor, but even here there were always specialities to discover; several Wobbegong, other sharks and manta rays again. A very beautiful sightseeing-tour we undertook to Laguna Bintang (Star Lagoon); after 305 steps, we reached a viewpoint with great distance vision.


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All too soon the last days passed on board and it was time to say goodbye, waiting for us for another week the Papua Paradise Resort, about 1.5 hours by speedboat from Sorong. The hotel is part of the Lotus Group and we also met two old acquaintances from Gangga Resort Island, Nico and Donal. Anyone who has ever stayed in a Lotus Hotels, gets a 10% discount on the accommodation rates for the stay. The boat transfer from Sorong to Birie Island by the way costs 180 Euro per person, the overnight rates are depending on the dive package (non-divers, Diving Unlimited Maximum of 4 dives per day, dive packages from 1 to 24 dives). Nitrox is for no extra charge. 1 to a maximum of 4 people go with a guide, no extra costs for boat trips. Snorkeling is possible dependent on the tides at the house reef 1 and reef 2 (about 10 minutes walk), otherwise by boat (depending on the duration and distance of € 15,00 to € 45,00 per person).




Already the next morning we discovered right outside our water bungalow a smaller Dugong who showed us his flipper for welcome. The restaurant Sunbird began to build its nest directly on an exterior blinds; always different Kingfishers (Beach Kingfisher) were seen, which found enough small fish in the low lagoon. Two boat trips to a nearby island we made to find hornbills and the legendary Wilson's Bird of Paradise. This trip will probably stay with us for a long time in our memories because of the hardships associated with the trip.


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We dived during the week in Papua Paradise with dive-guide Andi, overall we found the diving in the small group a little more relaxed than the days before with the AMIRA. Despite the full moon, the current at the dive sites was mostly moderate, there was also the possibility to make pure macro dives in small bays. However, one of the highlights of the week was the chance of an encounter with a sperm whale, which appeared only for a few moments beside our dive boat and some fountains uttering with water like a fountain (A videoclip can be clicked here). The dive site Manta Way we had finally again to ourselves, 6 Reef Mantas, including two black, we could see for an hour at the cleaning station.


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But this time passed and we were set back to the long journey home, again with a long stopover in Jakarta, which we shortened with a visit to a spa. Eventually we finally ended up in Frankfurt again, extremely punctual with Qatar Airways, an airline we herewith also want to recommend. A big thank you we would like to express to the whole crew of AMIRA, as our dive guide Andi and also the other staff in Papua Paradise Resort.

We'll come back for sure!


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